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WESTERN MASS. MAN ACQUITTED OF MANSLAUGHTER

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 25, 2012
A Westfield man was acquitted of manslaughter after being accused of drinking beer prior to running over a boy in a kayak with his speedboat of 2010.  A jury trial in Hampshire Superior Court also acquitted him of  the charges of homicide while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, operating a vessel while under the influence causing serious injury and three counts of child endangerment while operating under the influence. If you have been charged with operating under the influence, contact the attorneys at Brooks & Crowley and we can provide you with over 30 years of legal expertise to defend your case.

Impending Foreclosure?

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, June 23, 2012
When your home is threatened by foreclosure all hope may not be lost.  The typical window of a foreclosure from the date of the filing of the complaint until the judgment of sale is entered is about a 2-month window.  Although this is a short amount of time, if you are pro active and talk to an attorney early on in the process, you may be able to find an alternative.  The sooner you seek legal help, the better chance you have of your attorney being able to help defend you in a foreclosure.  See full article here. If you are facing a foreclosure, contact us at Brooks & Crowley and let us try to help you work out an alternate to foreclosure

Are There Harmful Chemicals In Your Garden Hose?

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, June 23, 2012
Chemicals levels in garden hoses are not currently regulated, but perhaps they should be.  Recent tests showed that 2/3 of the 179 products ended up in the “high concern” category, meaning they contained at least one hazardous chemical.  The hoses tested contained lead and phthalates, which exceed the Consumer Product Safety Commission Standard for other products.  While the most common use for garden hoses is to water plants, they are sometimes used as a drinking source for people and pets. Some recommended tips include: letting the water run for a few seconds before using it, storing the hose in the shade, not drinking the water, purchasing a lead free hose, and testing your soil for harmful metals. If you have been exposed to these harmful chemicals from your garden hose, contact the law offices of Brooks & Crowley and receive the legal assistance you deserve.

Warning to Women

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, June 23, 2012
There are two suspicious incidents pertaining to the safety of women in Windham, NH.  In the first incident, a woman was approached by a man who drove up and handed her a note which read, “wanna meet somewhere” and the woman threw the note back at him and he took off.  The second instance occurred when a man drove past a jogger several times and stared at her.  The suspect may be driving a tan Ford Taurus with MA plates. If you notice any suspicious behavior, you should report it to officials. Full article here.

WOMAN TO BE ARRAIGNED ON 3RD OUI CHARGE

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, June 23, 2012
A Sudbury Town Committee Member will be arraigned on a third OUI charge from May 9th, when she drove her vehicle over an island and struck signs and collided with a granite post.  She left a local restaurant, which was serving alcohol past the time allowed by the license.   See article here. A third drunk driving offense has harsh penalties.  There is no alternative dispute resolution available, and there is a fine in place between $1,000.00 and $15,000.00.  In addition to a suspended license for 8 years and a state seizure and sale of the vehicle, there is jail time of not less than 180 days (150 days mandatory), and no more than 5 years in State Prison. If you are facing an OUI/DUI charge, your reputation and savings are on the line.  Contact us at Brooks & Crowley and see what we can do to offer you legal assistance.

Toxic Algae in the Charles River?

Joseph Coupal - Friday, June 22, 2012
People and pets beware because a blue-green algae has been surfacing in the Charles and it is potentially toxic.  The algae is also here a few weeks earlier than it usually comes.   The algae, called aphanizomenom, resembles green strands of silly string or green paint.  It has been primarily spotted by the MIT boathouse an signs have been posted to warn people of the potential dangers.  The algae is capable of producing toxins, but does not always produce them, so testing is currently underway.  Approximately one dog death a year is caused from this algae.  While the river is not closed, people should still take caution and avoid ingestion.  People should also wash any exposed body part that has been in contact with the water.   Full story here.

Building Permits Highest Since 2008

Joseph Coupal - Friday, June 22, 2012
The number of building permits has increased and has hit record highs since 2008.  This signals that housing construction numbers will get better, and in turn, this means more jobs.  The construction surge may be attributed to the mild winter.    However, housing won’t return to full force until the overall economy improves and hiring increases. Full story here.

Flushmate Toilet System Recall

Joseph Coupal - Friday, June 22, 2012
If you have a Series 503 Flushmate III Pressure-Assist Flushing System, you should be careful because over 2.3 million toilet flushing systems are being recalled after hundreds of reported accidents from the units bursting.  A total of 304 incidents have been reported and it is suspected that there are likely many times that many injuries that have actually occurred.  The models are sold at stores such as Home Depot and Lowes and companies using the mechanism include American Standard, Crane, Eljer, Gerber, Kohler, Mansfield and St. Thomas. If your unit was made between October 1997 and February 2008 your unit could be facing this dangerous problem. “The date code range for this recall begins with 101497 (October 14, 1997) and continues through 022908 (February 29, 2008),” the CPSC said.  Check out the full story here. If you have one of these recalled units you should turn off the water supply to your toilet and request a free repair kit.  If you have been injured by one of these exploding units, contact us at Brooks & Crowley and we can offer you the legal assistance you need.

WOMAN FACES 4TH DUI CHARGE

Joseph Coupal - Friday, June 22, 2012
An Uxbridge woman was charged with a fourth drunk driving offense after driving her car into a sand trap on a golf course.  The woman, who was driving with a suspended license, claimed her GPS sent her the wrong way.  However, police allege she was drunk.  Police report a cup filled with alcohol in the car.   The woman is being held on a $10,000.00 bail after pleading not guilty to charges of driving with a suspended license and drunk driving.  See full article. If convicted on the drunk driving charge, the woman faces penalties of not less than 2 years in jail with a one year mandatory minimum sentence, not more than 5 years in state prison, a fine between $1500.00 and $25,000.00, a license suspension for ten years, and loss of vehicle to the Commonwealth.
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Zoning Ordinances

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 19, 2012
It is important to comply with zoning ordinances or else you may face similar violations to a Middleboro man, who has planted tulips in violation of landscape regulations and building too close to the property line. He has already spent over a million dollars to improve the property, but if he has violated these ordinances, the renovations may be futile.  Full article here.  For example, in Bjorklund v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Norwell, 450 Mass. 357 (2008), the court prevented a homeowner from tearing down  smaller house to replace it with a larger house to ensure that the town ordinance would not be violated.

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